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Arenas arrives at halfway house to serve sentence

A Montgomery County program forces former inmates to find jobs themselves in an effort to safely return them to society. Video by Dan Morse/The Washington PostEditor: Jonathan Forsythe/The Washington Post
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 11, 2010; 12:51 PM

Gilbert Arenas arrived at a Montgomery County halfway house at 8:58 a.m. Sunday, marking the next phase of his 30-day sentence for a gun-related conviction, corrections officials said.

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The basketball star had spent the preceding two days inside a more traditional jail, the Montgomery County Detention Center, in Rockville.

Arenas is scheduled to spend the next 28 days at Montgomery's "Pre-Release Center," which was housing about 150 residents as of Sunday, and has developed a national reputation for its highly structured operations.

Arenas will spend his nights there, and perform community service during the day. He earlier had pleaded guilty to a felony count of carrying a pistol without a license.

Stefan LoBuglio, chief of the center, declined to discuss Arenas specifically, but described what the typical first two days are like. Residents are given a handbook advising them of center rules and required community chores. They sign a statement acknowledging the escape policies. Officials can seek felony charges, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, if halfway house residents don't return from their jobs or community service responsibilities.

Residents generally live in 10-foot by 10-foot rooms with bunk-beds. They are given linens that they must wash themselves. Arenas will have access to the recreation yard, which has a basketball hoop. He will be able to watch cable TV in community rooms with other residents. Arenas's team, the Washington Wizards, is on CSN at 7:30 p.m. Sunday night, against the Atlanta Hawks. But residents collectively decide what they want to watch -- with ultimate approval from staff members.

Those who know Arenas have said privately that his likeable manner will serve him well inside the center.

On Monday, residents at the Pre-Release Center sit in for a two-hour orientation presentation, and get their detailed schedules of what their particular days will be like during their first two weeks.

As for escapes, there was one so far this year, two in 2009 and 4 in 2008. All were apprehended, according to LoBuglio. The facility houses about 700 residents a year.

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